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One of the most important kinds of ornamental grass found at homes, parks, etc., is lawns. Lawns are most people’s pride and joy. These grass-like perennials aren’t fussy as they are hardy and can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, would they thrive in ericaceous compost?
Ericaceous compost is good for lawns as it is a type of soil that is more on the acidic side. Most species of grass used for lawns thrive best at soil pH levels that range between 6.5 and 7. Others can tolerate lower ranges of as low as 5.5 and grow well.
The pH level of your soil is one of the most influential factors in getting the best lawn possible. Most gardeners use a variety of compost and fertilizers to keep their lawns in top shape. Should ericaceous compost be one of those lawn care additions? Here’s all to know about whether or not ericaceous soil is suitable for lawns.
In What Way Is Ericaceous Compost Good For Lawns?
Because lawns tend to do quite well in neutral to somewhat acidic soil pH levels, and ericaceous soil is meant for acidic plants, it isn’t surprising that lawns can thrive to become lush, green turfs when ericaceous compost is used.
Well-balanced soil is undoubtedly the foundation of any healthy lawn. Ericaceous compost is especially beneficial to certain types of lawn grasses. This is because the slightly acidic soil pH level is where you have the most uptake of nutrients. Numbers above 7 on a pH scale are considered alkaline, and anything below neutral, from 6, is considered acidic.
Some grasses tolerate lower ranges of as low as 5.5. These are typically fine grasses, like bents, whereas grasses with broader leaves, like meadow grasses, tend to do better in more neutral levels.
Therefore, lawns can usually get the necessary nutrients in neutral pH levels and slightly acidic levels that ericaceous compost offers. However, remember that the pH level closest to neutral is where grass nutrients are typically easily accessible for grasses that do well in soil pH level 7.
It is also where microbes are working hard to regulate thatch levels and decompose organic matter. Therefore, it is also worth noting that lawns aren’t necessarily lime-hating plants like Heathers.
All About How Soil Ph Levels Affect Lawns
Although lawns are hardy and can power through just about anything, they, too, have their weaknesses. The pH level of your soil is crucial as it affects nutrient availability. When the pH level is wonky, essential nutrients can become unavailable to your lawn.
Suppose you suspect your lawn’s soil pH level isn’t quite right. In that case, the best way to confirm this is to perform a soil test. Here’s how:
You’ll need to collect a soil sample from your lawn and place it in a container. You can use Litmus paper to help you determine the pH level of your soil. There are various Litmus paper Kits at stationery stores and places like Amazon.
Add a 1:1 ratio of distilled water because it has a neutral pH level. Stir the mixture and wait for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes have passed, stir the mixture and dip the Litmus paper.
Wait several minutes until the color changes. Once this happens, pull the paper out of the mixture and place it next to the pH color-coded chart that comes with the kit.
Match the color the Litmus paper turned to the color closely resembling it on the chart. This will let you know what the pH level of your soil is.
However, there are other indicators you can look for that will let you know that your lawn has a high pH level. These are:
- You’ll notice that there aren’t any growth spurts even though you regularly fertilize your lawn.
- You’ll also notice more weeds thriving on your lawn.
- Your lawn will have some bare spots where grass doesn’t want to grow. There may be bare spots on your lawn that can be a result of pets or even pest issues. However, if neither is the cause, the chances that the pH level is the problem are high.
- Compact soil is another indication that the soil pH level is too high.
Note: If you notice a lawn with fine grasses is doing well, this is a good indication that the soil is acidic. In contrast, a lawn with broader-leaved grasses will tend to indicate neutral or possibly alkaline soil.
The Best Way To Adjust Ph Levels For Lawns
Keeping the soil pH in your lawn in the optimal range is the best way to have a healthier, greener, and disease-resistant lawn. When the pH levels are just right, your lawn is able to make effective use of the fertilizer and nutrients added.
There are several ways to deal with lawn soil that doesn’t seem to want to get with the program.
One effective way to adjust pH levels from acidic, 0-6, to alkaline, 8-14, is by applying lime. Keep in mind that it isn’t recommended that you use it unless it is otherwise unavoidable.
It may sound dramatic, but removing lime from your lawn is impossible once applied. As a precaution, only add lime if the lawn’s soil pH is below 5.
Iron or Organic Sulphate does a great job of bringing the pH down from alkaline to acidic. This helps ensure that the soil stays acidic for some time. However, this is not a permanent solution. Adding organic matter is an excellent way to turn this into a relatively permanent solution.
Note: Ensure you read the packaging directions and instructions to know just how much to use and how often.
You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to know that knowing a little soil chemistry will help you understand which compost is good for lawns. In this case, finer-leaved lawns can thrive in ericaceous compost, while other species of grasses prefer neutral pH soil levels.